Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush wore a face mask in honor of Breonna Taylor. Republicans thought it was her name

Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush wore a face mask in honor of Breonna Taylor. Republicans thought it was her name
Image via Screengrab.

When Democratic Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush wore a Breonna Taylor face mask during an orientation session for new members of the U.S. House of Representatives, she did so in memory of a victim of police overreach and the War on Drugs. And upon seeing that mask, some Republican members of Congress assumed that Bush's name was Breonna Taylor and addressed her as "Breonna."

Appearing on CNN's "OutFront" on Monday night, November 16, Bush told host Erin Burnett that she was sad to see those Republicans didn't even know who Taylor was. Taylor, a 26-year-old frontline health worker in Louisville, Kentucky, was unarmed when she was killed by police during a botched no-knock drug raid in March. And activists for Black Lives Matter and other proponents of police reform have been citing Taylor's death as a glaring and tragic example of how horribly the War on Drugs has failed. No drugs were found in Taylor's apartment.

The progressive Bush — whose campaign was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City and the group Justice Democrats — told Burnett that when a Republican member of Congress addressed her as "Breonna," it "did not seem like they were being malicious." But Bush told Burnett that after more Republicans called her by that name during the orientation session, "I really started to feel hurt. Because I'm like, 'This has been a national movement. The reports are: somewhere between 15 and 26 million people protested up to July— from June into July. How do you not know?'"


The progressive Missouri Democrat continued, "We signed up to be leaders. We have to know what's happening in our communities — and not only our communities, but what's happening in other communities. Because that's how we keep our people safe."

Burnett was shocked, telling Bush, "It is saying something — they really did not even know who she was? And what was their reaction? Did you try to explain?"

Bush responded, "Yeah, I did — to each person who called me 'Breonna.' It was, 'Hi, Breonna, how are you? I'm such and such.' It was, 'Oh, you must be Breonna Taylor.' And with each one, I explained who she was….. It was just like this blank look. But it gave me an opportunity to teach. And so now, they know who Breonna Taylor is."

Bush, a 44-year-old native of St. Louis, pulled off a major upset in Missouri's 1st Congressional District when, in August, she narrowly defeated ten-term incumbent Rep. Lacy Clay in a Democratic primary. And Bush went on to win the general election on November 3, defeating Republican nominee Anthony Rogers by more than 60%.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.